Last Updated: Friday - 09/24/2010
Week of June 30, 2003
Heal those old hurts by living a new way
By FR. RON ROLHEISER, omi
We heal, not by making new resolutions but by living in a new way.
Jacques Dupuis, speaking in the context of the historical wounds that various religions have inflicted upon each other, makes the same point. How to move beyond old hurts? For him, this requires more than good intention and silent prayer: "Purification of memory is not at all easy. Peoples and religious communities cannot be asked to forget how much they have suffered. . . . For them forgetting would be tantamount to betrayal.
"The personal identity of a human group is built up from a concrete historic past that in any case cannot be annulled, even if there were a will to do so. But even while not forgetting, memory can be healed and purified through a shared determination to begin a new constructive mutual relationship of dialogue and collaboration, of encounter."
John of the Cross has a spirituality of healing based upon precisely this idea, new relationship, deeper growth that takes us beyond old hurts.
We heal, he says, by "growing to our deepest centre," something he defines as the maximization of our deepest moral potential. That centre, he says, then becomes a great fire that heals our wounds and faults by burning them away as if by cautery (a medical procedure wherein doctors cure a sore that will not heal by burning the wound still deeper).
Healing, for him, comes about by deeper growth and deeper relationship, which, initially, make the wound worse, but eventually bring about a cure.
Put more simply: If John of the Cross were your spiritual director and you came to him wanting healing from some hurt or moral fault, he would not have you focus on the hurt or the fault itself, but would challenge you instead to begin a deeper relationship to life, love and morality.
For John, a deeper relationship is what creates the new energy needed to move beyond old hurts and old faults. We heal, he says, not by making new resolutions but by living in a new way.
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